Couples and guests alike love wedding cakes. It is the center of attention at wedding receptions. It has been a traditional part of weddings for centuries.
Cultures And Wedding Cakes
One of the earliest traditions involving the wedding cake started in Ancient Rome. To wish a future of good fortune, cake was broken on a bride's head. These cakes were made of barley or wheat.
In Medieval England, stacked cakes were symbolic. It was believed prosperity was guaranteed when couples could kiss over these tall cakes. A French pastry chef noticed this tradition and took it with him when he returned to France. However, the French version used sweet rolls, and became known as Croquembouche.
In both America and England, the cake was more than a part of a wedding celebration. It was also a symbol of social status. Families with the highest social standing had the largest cakes.
For early America and England, a wedding cake was usually a fruit cake. While cakes usually had icing, all-white cakes with white icing were mainly reserved for wealthy people with high social standings.
The cake at Prince Leopold's wedding was the first modern cake that was 100% edible. The tiers were stacked when the icing hardened.
The Wedding Cake And Symbolism
There is a rich history of symbolism surrounding cakes. As pure white symbolized purity and virginity, white cakes and white icing became the preferred style.
Bridesmaids were given slices of cake to take home, and place underneath their pillows. It was believed a bridesmaid would dream of her future husband. This tradition eventually extended to guests. Guests at wedding receptions are often given small slices of cake to take home.
It has also become a custom for couples to take the top tier home to enjoy on their first wedding anniversary.
The Modern Wedding Cake
While many couples still prefer tiered white cakes, options for cakes today have virtually no limits. They are made of any flavour the couple prefers, including fruit cake and chocolate.
Cake toppers are no longer limited to small figurines of a bride and groom. Toppers include flowers, and decorations that represent the couple's shared hobbies. Some couples prefer Christmas ornaments or small statuettes. Modern couples often like cake toppers that they can use at home in the future.
Modern cakes range from one layer to multiple tiers. In most cases, though, the size of a cake reflects the number of guests at the reception, rather than a couple's social status.
From budget-friendly and simple to expensive and elaborate, a cake is part of wedding celebrations. Today's couples have many more options, and are based on personal preference rather than tradition.
This does not mean traditional cakes have entirely disappeared. Many couples today still prefer tiered white cakes with the whitest icing. Whichever type of cake you like, you can find a baker or pastry chef to create it for you. You can have a custom-designed wedding cake that is perfect for the wedding of your dreams.